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Editorial Letters – Week ending May 3, 2019

Longboat Key News encourages Letters to the Editor on timely issues. Please email to: letters@lbknews.com or mail to PO Box 8001, Longboat Key, FL 34228. We also print letters sent to Town Hall that address Longboat Key issues. We reserve the right to edit.

Comments on “The Climate Needs Nuclear Power”

To: Editor

I whole heartily agree with Mr. O’Connor’s  Editorial Opinion in the April 26th Longboat Key News. We definitively need to refocus our energy objectives in this country to Nuclear for the good of the planet. However, our current laws require that the majority of the Nuclear waste needs to be buried or stored in the ground. This creates a long term containment and contamination issue, which put a stop to the rapid Nuclear expansion, which was going on at that time. The current burial and/or storage legislation stems from the fact that the Carter administration believed that this so-called Nuclear waste could be converted to weapons, which could be used against us. On the other hand, the French and Japanese recycle most of the Nuclear waste, which we bury, and they believe that the threat of the use of this waste for weapons has been greatly exaggerated. Also, technology advancements in Nuclear power use make the disasters, such as Chernobyl, virtually impossible. The U. S. needs an energy strategy, which is not driven by political motives.

Paul Geck

Longboat Key

 

Longboat Key Library Rebuttal

To: Editor

The recent Observer unscientific six (6) question poll used the term “underutilized” in reference to the Longboat Library, for the second time. The first time the President, Mrs. Mary Baker wrote a letter to the Observer that was not published. She has given me permission to use some of the daily statistics collected by the library volunteers. Please find the letter to the Observer and Longboat Key News below:

I am perplexed at the Observer’s recent use of the term “underutilized” library. I would suggest the Longboat Key library is an integral part of the community since its founding, January 1957. For instance, in the month of January 698 books, 33 audio CDs, and 15 DVDs, were checked out and during February, 836 books, 26 audio CDs and 20 DVDs were checked out. During the two (2) months, the library was open 47 days by volunteers trained under the supervision of our librarians. They maintain the desk and day to day operations generating over 658 volunteer hours. Of course we realize these are in season months and library traffic diminishes in off season, as do all activities. This does not count the many hours of volunteers purchasing books, reviewing books, updating card catalogs and preparing books for the shelves. We have numerous retired librarians working together, some with advanced degrees supervising the day-to-day activities of the library. In addition, our members represent a broad cross section of managerial and technical skills used in an advisory capacity.

The Longboat Key library is a member supported private nonprofit organization staffed and operated entirely by volunteers. It is not a part of the excellent Sarasota Selby library which has no extension on the island. It is funded by membership fees and donations of cash and books. Membership is open to all for a yearly fee. The library opened in January 15, 1957 and moved to the present location at the town hall complex in January 1972. According to membership wishes, the bulk of the library is in contemporary recreational reading: mysteries, fiction, nonfiction, biographies, classics and books of local interest. It is not a research library. The numbers speak for themselves. “Underutilized”, we think not!

Sadler L. James

Library Volunteer, Longboat Key

 

Arts, Cultural and Education Center reconsideration by Ringling

To: Town Commission

Commissioners, FYI- as a follow-up to my individual phone calls, we have just received the attached written notice/release from Ringling College. I understand that Ringling has also contacted the Longboat Key Foundation to let them know of their decision.

Based on this notice we will be removing the Pre-Construction Agreement from next week’s Commission meeting. This was obviously a long-term project that was not expected to start for at least 3-5 years depending on the private fundraising necessary to fund the improvements. Our immediate priority with the Town Center is the creation of an outdoor venue for the Community. We are just completing the demolition of the Amore Restaurant and working with the permitting agencies to approve the initial improvements to the site. We will be scheduling an opportunity to talk further with the Commission about future improvements to enhance the outdoor venue infrastructure while keeping long term options available for a future structure on the site.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

“Sad decision by Ringling…”

To: Town Manager Tom Harmer

Thank you for the attached press release detailing the sad decision of Ringling College of Art and Design to withdraw from its key role in our Longboat Key Arts, Culture and Education Center project. While I agree with the removal of further discussion of the Pre-Construction Agreement from next Monday’s Commission agenda, I strongly urge you to include an agenda item to discuss what happened here and why.

Many people have spent many years getting us to the brink of a plan to develop an Arts Center at the heart of Town that would re-centralize the education, display, meeting, performance and other functions formerly conducted at the north end, together with other amenities to bring the various communities on our island together. Every step of this process from the 2012 ULI study to the present was done in the public eye and with community participation. We have been fortunate to have as our partner one of the most respected and successful enterprises in our region. Not only had Ringling College agreed to assist the Longboat Key Foundation in raising all of the money needed to construct this project, but also to operate and manage it at no expense to the town or its citizens.

Our Town Commission was scheduled on Monday, May 6 to approve the next stage of the plan that would kick off fund-raising and begin the discussion of final agreements. Instead, beginning several months ago, a few people chose to question this plan along with the integrity and motivation of our partner. When the press jumped on board last week with a “survey” citing 58 of 100 respondents saying we did not “need” an arts, culture and education center on Longboat Key, the die was cast and Ringling pulled out.

We have squandered a huge opportunity on our island and diminished our own reputation by calling into question that of our partner. In the same week that the City of Sarasota embraced its future by endorsing the dynamic Bayfront Project, we have rejected our own. Let’s figure out how this happened and how to avoid such self-inflicted injuries going forward.

Ken Schneier

Commissioner

Longboat Key

 

Attacks on Ringling College make a tragic day

To: Town Commission

This is a tragic day for Longboat Key and it’s vision for what the Town could be for it’s residents and visitors for the next forty years.

The attacks upon a valued and much needed partner, Ringling College, have had a predictable result. Why would any institution, with many other projects on their plate, subject itself to what I see as a dishonest, ego-driven effort to characterize them as a bad actor.

The old tactics of “I’ve heard from many people”, unsupported claims, not accepting 7-0 votes to proceed, the spectacle of essentially the only negative witnesses in the over six years of public hearing being the usual suspects historically aligned with or related to the Mayor, the nit-picking, comma questioning filibustering on the part of the Vice Mayor to try to create a document no sane entity could sign all were the bullets from this firing squad. The final blow was the self-admitted unscientific “poll” by the Observer which enabled those who might wish to do so to over-represent opinion on the Town Center.

The funding for the construction of the Town Center was always going to be paid for through private fund-raising. Ringling—very successful is exciting donors and raising funds—was to be a committed party in professionally steering that effort. Private citizens have spent years working toward moving the project forward. Former Mayor Brown generously and loyally agreed to help steer the private efforts.

Every Commission until this one supported the Town Center Project, purchasing two parcels of land in furtherance toward the goal. It certainly was not purchased to be a three-and-a-half million dollar lawn.

And what of the Education Center? It was intended from early in the project that that function would become a part of the Town Center. Former Commissioner Pat Zunz announced it’s incision in a public meeting in December 2016. No final agreement could be expected to be executed until there was actually a firm commitment for beginning to build.

Yet this was used by the Vice Mayor—along with the sudden introduction into this discussion of pickle ball—as an indication that Ringling was somehow not acting in good faith.

Going back to Sir Thomas Moore that “silence implies consent,” the voters of Longboat Key had faith in their elected officials to move the dream—first expressed via participation in the ULI Study—to a conclusion. They did not need to speak in support of something that was a given. There were no negative voices heard until this sudden and

deliberate attack on all that had gone before.

Whatever the motivations of those who have effectively killed the Town Center project, they will have to live with it. But, sadly, so will all of us.

If this seems like an attack upon the actions of several people, so be it. I just happen to be a fan of public discourse driven by good faith and honest statements.

Terry Gans

Longboat Key

 

I am owed an apology…

To: Terry Gans

You and I had some differences of opinion while you were a commissioner. However, that is healthy and an important reason for having seven commissioners. If we all agreed on everything we could get by with one commissioner. Notwithstanding our occasional differences, I always respected your hard work and voted for you as mayor in your successful election against commissioner Spoll.

After six years on the commission you should be able to recite the town’s civility policy in your sleep. You still have the right to disagree with me, but even a moment’s reflection before sending your recent intemperate letter should have made it obvious to you that your calling me “dishonest” and “ego-driven” was a blatant violation of our civility policy for which an apology is in order.

Since you left the commission and declared your intention not to meddle in its affairs, it is understandable that you have relaxed your previous attention to details. Let me remind you of a few historical things and also fill in the blanks on some recent things.

I have always been and still remain a strong proponent of a Town Center. ULI advocated a mid-island town center as a gathering place for the community and I enthusiastically voted to add the Amore lot to the original site.

In 2014 the town issued an RFP to prepare three separate design concepts to implement the ULI recommendation. Scenario A was called “Existing with Improvements;” Scenario B was called “Partial Redevelopment;” and Scenario C was called “Mixed-use Town Center,” with instructions to “approach the site as a blank slate” or a “total demolition” that would likely include “new internal streets and would incorporate a mix of restaurant, retail, office, medical and potentially residential and tourism space…and would also include a civic/cultural center and open space/park area on the 2.81 acres of land being acquired by the town” (This was before any idea of adding the two acre Amore property).

Especially relevant to the current situation were two additional caveats in the RFP. (1) “Also for any of the three (3) scenarios detailed above, the proposal should provide a methodology and anticipated approach to the public participation process during formulation of the scenarios. The approach should include charettes, workshops and/or other methods deemed useful for involving the public in the formulation process, in order to accommodate community needs within the proposed designs and earn public support for the project…and (2) “given the seasonal nature of the community…challenges consistent with seasonal markets…need for these services and the specific uses that would be sustainable will be crucial to the success of a Town Center concept…and these recommendations should be incorporated into the consultant’s plans.” Tinsdale Oliver was awarded the contract. With the aid of a citizen committee, they submitted detailed plans that were on display to the public, but they were not adopted by the town. Nevertheless, the RFP clearly set forth the concerns of the town for dealing with the seasonality of Tow Center uses and for extensive public participation in the selection of those uses.

These two explicit caveats set down by the town in 2014 match the essence of my opposition to launching into fundraising at this time. You should be aware of both of them; weren’t you a commissioner when they were created? However, you likely ignored the town’s explicit directions for intense public involvement as mere “nit-picking.”

For the past four years this project has moved like molasses and the public has not been involved in any significant way. At one point Ringling submitted some rough drawings of buildings that would house a learning program, an arts program and a black box theatre that would cost about $18 million far more than had earlier been cost estimated. Those plans were not approved by the commission.

Thereafter Ringling reported that funding might be possible for the first two programs but not for the black box theatre. For the first time Mr. Thompson added words to the effect that management of the performance element was not really Ringling’s forte anyway. After that, Ringling estimated that the cost might be reduced to about $11 million if a large multipurpose room was substituted for the black box theatre and discussion then turned to commencement of fundraising. I objected that public approval had never been sought for any of this and we did not even have anything to show the public.

I also had concerns as the utility of the new multipurpose room and felt that the town was entitled to more information about the other two uses as well. Ringling had previously taken over the art center in the village, managed it for ten years, then shut it down and sold the land to a residential developer. Under these circumstances I felt that the town, the public and potential donors were entitled to disclosure of the reasons for this prior failure and a satisfactory explanation of how the same outcome would be avoided here. My fellow commissioners disagreed and accused me of distrusting Ringling by even requesting this information, which would have been normal procedure with anyone but Ringling.

As to the learning program, I was concerned about the existing one run for so many years on Longboat Key by Susan Goldfarb. If the new one were to open in competition with it, aside from any ethical issues that might create for the town, the limited Longboat Key market for that use might result in the failure of both programs. I was assured that Ringling had already reached some collaborative agreement with Ms. Goldfarb, which I soon learned to be untrue.

Two weeks ago, in apparent agreement as to the need for public approval, the Longboat Observer published a short questionnaire. Immediately upon seeing it, because of the town’s second caveat to deal with seasonality, I sent an email to the editor asking him to include the following request for additional public input: “Based on prior experience on Longboat Key, an art program or an education program might only operate successfully for about half the year. Therefore, I provide suggestions for additional indoor and outdoor activities that they would like to include in such a Town Center.”

Without my requested action, the results of that admittedly imperfect survey were announced the following week under the heading: “Survey results: ‘No’ to the center.” Under the terms of both the existing and newly revised draft of Memo of understanding no binding contract was created and either party could terminate the results of the Observer survey, Ringling voluntarily notified the town of its withdrawal. Some of the public had spoken. I gave my heart and soul to serve and protect our community to the vest best of my ability, even at the risk of personal attacks. However, it is ashamed for you, of all people, to violate our civility policy and falsely accuse me of dishonestly and egomania.

Ed Zunz

Vice Mayor, Longboat Key

 

I reject the reinvention of history…

To: Vice Mayor Ed Zunz

If you note the end of my email, I specifically said I was attacking the actions of several on the Commission. The prior attributing of “ego” and “dishonest” were not necessarily brought about by a reading of your motivations. If you feel they could be, that is on you. Simply put, I see no violation and offer no apology.

Mr. Vice Mayor, you have a history of saying you support things seeming to do everything you can to derail or delay through endless mining of the minutiae of documents and each word wherein. Simply put, you lose site of the forest and wander among the trees. I’ve always felt it was likely part of your way of doing things not to stop at “yes” and to try to get your fellow Commissioners to doubt their previous votes. My memory of history is that we would not be proceeding with Under-grounding our utilities if your arguments had received any traction. On that issue, on the St Regis, the pile of papers in front of you always let us know we were about to join you in a long and (to me) unnecessary exercise. Many times, in the end, you did cast your vote in support of what was in front of us.

I reject the reinvention of history on the Town Center project that the public has been has been shut out of the process. For seven years? Do you really believe that? I know you, former Commissioner Zunz and one other are trying to create the false narrative of “Why won’t you listen to the people, Terry?” I have no objection if there are more avenues for participation. What I do object to, and as strongly as I can, is driving a needed partner in the development and operation once the publicly-raised funds are secured. The inferred bad acts raised to sour the image of Ringling College, the attacks upon alleged past deeds at the Arts Center, and the straw man argument about the Education Center’s lack of a formal agreement at a point where such a thing was not possible were tactics I would expect from the current White House.

As for not listening, here are two examples. At one time, I leaned in the direction of the need for a cell tower behind the chapel. Commission and public discourse changed my position. At the beginning, I was a skeptic regarding under-grounding. Commission and public discourse made me an advocate.

No, it is not you I believe likes to draw previous decisions and individuals into disrepute through demagogic use of mistruth and fictions. I believe you have a contrarian streak that drives you to question–often unnecessarily–a lot of things that don’t call for it. But you have that right. I do not have to like it and I have the right to object.

The Commission has now broken faith will past commitments–including the expenditures for the land. It has broken faith with Sarasota County which provided the funds for clearing the Amore property. It has broken faith with the citizens of Longboat Key who felt they could trust the Commission to keep going on what had been laid out for them and future generations.

And, Ed, please do not use that non-survey from the Observer to support anything. It was not a poll in any sense and was an invitation for mischief.

Ed, I have had no desire to do anything more than be a voter and enjoy Longboat. I have no hunger for any more involvement than that. If I had, I legally could have run for another term. I did not complete three full terms. I sincerely wanted other people, new people to add their voices and views to the Town. Others obviously feel they are indispensable. It would be my pleasure not to have any further involvement in the Town Center matter, even seeing the damage that has been done thus far. I would like to be able to rely upon the Commission to keep things moving forward, not backward. I yearn for positive leadership. I do not want to be at war with anyone. There are a very very small number I really do not like, but be assured you are not on that exceedingly small list

In business, it’s not good practice to drive away people (like Ringling) that you really need. Perhaps things are more abstract in the Law.

To reiterate, I don’t know your motivations so can only object to the methods and actions. For that, no apology is necessary. You made arguments, there was a result (Ringling’s withdrawal) and you have to own it. Saying you fully support that which you have acted to damage is not good enough.

At least grant that you recall my support of you during your last campaign, especially during the early voting. Yeah, I’m some enemy. I wish you the best always in your service and in your life.

Terry Gans

Longboat Key

 

Request for groin design, Longbeach Condominiums

To: Public Works Project Manager James Linkogle

Thank you and Issac for meeting with Bob Appel and I last Friday regarding the proposed two southerly rock groins and their location in front of the Longbeach Condominiums. Bob is the Coastal Chair for the Association, I am a volunteer resident.

We discussed several of the points made during the meeting and I have followed up on the ones that received comment.

First, we have confirmed that moving acreeted sand from a southerly location, back to its original location/placement, on our beach, would require a state permit, and that they would want to see a lot of justification before issuing

Such a permit, but it could be done, and isn’t against a law if done with the permit.

Secondly, we will await the modeling that Olsen has done to show the expected benefit of the rock groin to be placed south and adjacent to the current sea wall at the Coquina

a building. As you may recall, I have asked that this groin

Be delayed until after the three new northerly groins nearer the inlet be finished and functioning, in order to determine if the southerly rock groin near Coquina, and perhaps the one near the Broadway street access, are even needed.

The modeling results will help us evaluate the potential for meaningful success. If the benefits are relatively small, by delaying, the city would save the expense too. We are asking for the same approach that the Commissioners would like from

Sarasota regarding the new roundabout. Wait for the results of the other changes, turn lane etc… before committing to the roundabout and its potential impact on traffic and evacuations.

Given the rarity of installing such groins, that will have dramatic effect on the recreational value of the private residences, the property value impact, and the environmental and visual degradation, I wanted to encourage patience before taking the risk

Of there being minimal positive impact as is suggested by the history of that small area of beach and its success in regulating itself. I have personally been a continuous user of that beach since 1976. When do you think you will be sending modeling visuals?

David Baughman

Longboat Key

 

Request for groin design, Longbeach Condominiums

To: David Baughman

Thanks for your email.

James will be out of the office from Friday Aug. 31st, through Friday Aug. 7th, 2018. He will be monitoring messages and e-mail during his absence from the office. If you need immediate help, please call the Public Works Office (941-316-1988) for Town related matters so you can be directed to the appropriate party for assistance.

James Linkogle

Public Works Project Manager

Longboat Key

 

Longbeach Village Parking

To: Town Commission

Thank you for your public service, and for your continuing interest in resolving our immediate and eminent parking dilemma in the Village.

Ideally, as a Village resident, I am asking for you help in preserving our historic residential street front parking. The ever expanding parking needs of the commercial business has significantly impacted Broadway and Russel, with further invasion anticipated onto other side streets as the Shore restaurant begins operation.

Without aggressive intervention now by our Town leaders, it is inevitable that the quiet and quaint residential nature of the Village will be radically, permanently and adversely altered.

I trust you’d agree that the town governance trailed the usage agreements of the commercial businesses. The diligence and hard work by my fellow residents have supported the issues to date. I look to you, our community leaders, to objectively review the many remote parking options available to the restaurant businesses.

I urge the Commission to accept the thoughtful – and nearly unanimous support of Villagers to devise a residents-only parking solution.

I implore you to protect our community at the same time as rectifying the immediate need for employee and patron parking for the commercial activity.

Thanks in advance for your consideration and thanks again for your public service.

Barry Rookes & Jodi Tharou

Longboat Key

 

Prioritization from the Strategic Planning Retreat

To: Town Commission

Commissioners, FYI- attached are the Draft Priorities from the Strategic Planning Retreat on April 26th. I put them in three different categories. The first “Top Priorities” are those initiatives that received at least 4 votes from the Commissioners. The second category is “Additional Priorities” and includes any initiative that received at least 2 votes. The second page are the “Additional Initiatives” that received either 0 or 1 vote. I will be meeting with the Department Heads to review and will be reporting back to the Commission as we move into next year’s budget process.

Thomas A. Harmer

Town Manager

Town of Longboat Key

 

Wasting Dollars and Ringling Reneging

To: Commissioner Ed Zunz

Ed. Can you explain how a few people can propose a totally crazy unsupported plan and convince the commission to spend, in this case 4 to 5 million taxpayer dollars, on a piece of land that probably nobody wants, behind Publix?

Did the commission think to have a contract with Ringling before they spent so much money on Ringling’s plan?

Many people in the village are still mystified how Ringling was able to buy a piece of land that supposedly was bequeathed to the people of Longboat, and make a tasty profit on it. No one recalls that the town became an advocate of the residents interests in that transaction. The community lost a landmark, and now what do we have?

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

 

Village Parking

To: Commissioner Ed Zunz

Thanks for your public service, and for your continuing interest as expressed at the recent workshop about the worsening – and soon to get significantly worse – parking situation in the Village. Your comprehensive, thoughtful and passionate comments at the recent workshop were very, very much appreciated by us.

It is even difficult for us to imagine the magnitude of the parking horror that will occur when the expanded Mar Vista, the Shore, the gas station “bistro,” the spillover beach parking, the parking by boaters, and the parking by nearby island residents all collide on a sunny and warm weekends during the seasons in 2020 and beyond.

Without aggressive intervention now by our Town leaders, it is inarguable that the truly priceless, quiet, quaint, residential nature of the Village will be radically and permanently altered (for the worse).

I hope we can all accept for the record that there was a very material failure by the system that permitted this collective development in the Village when, in fact, there are scarcely enough on-site parking spots in the three establishments to accommodate the staffs of the establishments, much less the large number of expected customers.

We applaud the preliminary steps taken by the Commission at the recent workshop, and we hope each of them will be carried through to closure, and soon.

We also urge the Commission to accept the thoughtful – and nearly unanimous – work done by residents of the Village to devise a residents-only parking solution. This last element of a coordinated response to this impending civic catastrophe is essential to preserving the paradise that is the Village.

And, with the ample commercial parking available at the bank building and the Whitney Plaza – currently unused and non-revenue generating for the owners of those properties – the solution for the three commercial establishments is obvious.

(That is, the solution – a win/win for all – is to utilize commercial parking lots – and not historic residential streets – for commercial parking for the three establishments.)

We hope we can count on you to implement not only all of the steps approved preliminarily at the recent workshop, but also the outstanding residents-only parking plan that resulted from the thoughtful and hard work of the Villagers themselves.

Thanks in advance for your consideration of our positions, and thanks again for your public service.

Henry and Donna Rae Smith

Longboat Key

 

Longbeach Village Parking: We need a reasonable plan…

To: Town Commission

At the last commission workshop we should have been much clearer on our recommendation of a resident permit parking plan proposal. We were not recommending all village streets to be resident only. The intent was to stop the sprawl of on-street parking by all the non-residents in our neighborhood. Our goal is to create a reasonable plan so we can live our lives in harmony with the restaurants in our midst. We understand that the restaurants desire parking on our streets. But taking over the Village streets is a significant burden to the people who live here and need on-street parking near their homes for themselves, their guests, and their service providers. Our intention was to decide the limits to the restaurant street parking allowed; after further study. We are currently inclined to limit their available street parking to the 2 block fronts adjacent to their properties, which was established long ago. Perhaps also on Broadway (Lois to “Poinsetta”) if residents on that block agree.

We were lead to believe that several options were being proposed by the Planning Director that included 1. Limit Russell to one side 2. No Overnight parking village wide and 3. A Resident Permit Plan. The village survey conducted showed overwhelming (now 216-12) preference for the Resident Permit Parking option, yet the town pursued the Limit Russell option to our considerable disappointment. Please reassess our request for Resident Permit Parking. In our conversations locally, after considering pros and cons of all options, we always end up with Resident Permit Parking being the best solution – albeit not a perfect one. While No Overnight parking would be a definite improvement, a Resident Permit Plan is preferred as it allows residents and their overnight guests to park on the street near their homes. Permit parking also prevents overflow beach parking (now ongoing) from taking residents’ parking spots. Even Bradenton Beach protects their residents by prohibiting parking in all residential areas, despite the huge demand for parking by all the restaurants and shops, especially around Bridge Street.

Our objectives are to reduce traffic and the volume of parking. We request that you:

Ask the restaurants to have employees park remotely – at the bank, along Palm Street, Broadway beach access or some other commercially zoned area. Currently it seems that all Mar Vista employees park all day long on our streets, and walk to work, preventing residents from parking, even when the Mar Vista parking lot is empty. Parking at the bank, beach access, or other nearby commercial sites would increase this employee walk to about 3 ½ blocks. We have contacted the owner of the bank and believe he is agreeable to an arrangement while he pursues the ultimate fate of the bank building. We understand that Zota employees park at the beach access 2 properties north of their hotel. We recommend the town contact both the Shore and the Mar Vista and request that employees park off-site. We would be happy to participate if that would be helpful. Off-site employee parking could remove 20+ cars from our streets now, and many more when the Shore opens next month.

Ask the restaurants to implement reservation systems. A reservation system will reduce the very significant overlap of customers waiting for seating. Many Longboat restaurants, such as Lazy Lobster and Harry’s, have reservation systems. We request that you ask Mar Vista to implement one in the interest of neighborhood harmony. We would be happy to participate.

Decline approval for any non restaurant businesses on the restaurant sites. Merchandise sales should be primarily for restaurant patrons. However, any business such as kayak rentals add a whole new set of customers, traffic, and parking requirements. We request that you do not approve any additional businesses that attract more cars into our neighborhood.

Again, even though by code all restaurant parking is to be completely on-site, we understand that additional street parking may be desired by the two restaurants. As a town we made a colossal mistake in overturning the desires of the Longboat Key residents who voted by referendum to rezone the Moore’s (at Alan Moore’s request) to residential. Somehow, inexplicably, the town subsequently, without another referendum, overturned what was voted on by the Longboat Key voters, thus overturning the will of the people, and rezoned what is now the Shore restaurant back to a commercial parcel. This created yet another commercial parcel in spite of the excess of commercial zones already available on Longboat Key. Let’s mitigate the effects of this rezoning mistake in Longbeach Village by limiting additional restaurant parking to the area in the immediate proximity of the two restaurants.

Please see the detailed parking survey results that are attached. Thanks for your consideration of our requests.

Pete and Carla Rowan

Longboat Key

 

Village parking problem

To: Commissioner Ed Zunz

Hello and hope you are having a good day. It is my understanding the meeting next Monday May 6th will include a discussion on the LBK Village parking dilemma. Currently there is no parking on the north side of Linley and no parking on the east side of Poinsettia. Is their discussion to change this? If so I would express my thoughts that this is not a good idea. One for safety reasons and two added congestion on very narrow streets. Years ago when parking was allowed on Linley and Poinsettia it was extremely hard for Fire Engines, Paramedic vehicles, Trash trucks etc. to navigate the streets. Not to mention Cars with boat trailers parking on Linley and being left there while they put boats into the Linley boat ramp. All the streets in the Village are narrow. But Linley and Poinsettia are probably the narrowest.

To solve the problem of Mar Vista and The Shore parking would be not to open up street parking any more than currently exists but to have Mar Vista and The Shore shuttle customers via golf carts from the Shopping Center.

Also, I am whole hardly in favor of No Street Parking from 11 p.m. – 5 a.m. and lowering the speed limit to 25 mph in the Village. I hope this is voted in favor of during the meeting.

Theodore Smith

Longboat Key

 

Village parking problem

To: Theodore Smith

The parking issues in the village are of serious concern to the entire commission. Thank you for your comments which will be considered on May 6. No final decisions have yet been made regarding any of the issues you raise.

Ed Zunz

Vice Mayor

Longboat Key

 

Noise All Day

To: Town Commission

Longboat Key is a Noisier Place to Live.  I’ve heard complaints from tourists who come here to relax but hear nothing but leaf blowers, lawn mowers, beeping from palm trimming cranes, etc.  The leaf blowers just blow dust and debris from one spot to another.  It’s cleaner and quicker just to rake any debris on a tarp and put it in trash or compost ~

The two-stroke engine has developed a reputation as an environmental hazard. Because the engine lacks an independent lubrication system, fuel has to be mixed with oil. More important, about 30 percent of the fuel the engine uses fails to undergo complete combustion; as a result, the engine emits a number of air pollutants. Carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides and hydrocarbons escape from the engine in large quantities. Everyone knows the acute effects of carbon monoxide, but the other gases are equally worrisome. Both nitrous oxides and hydrocarbons contribute to smog formation. Hydrocarbons can be carcinogenic, and nitrous oxides can cause acid rain.

Cities where two-stroke engines are in particularly wide use suffer terribly from air pollution. Some of India’s urban centers, for example, are draped in heavy soot, a problem due in large part to auto-rickshaws powered by two-stroke engines. More than a decade ago, Delhi phased out tens of thousands of auto-rickshaws with two-stroke engines in favor of those with four-stroke engines that run on natural gas. This alleviated the pollution somewhat, but few cities have followed Delhi’s lead.

How a two-stroke engine works

In leaf blowers, two-stroke engines have been shown to emit contaminants comparable to large automobiles. A 2011 test by the car experts at Edmunds showed that ¡§a consumer-grade leaf blower emits more pollutants than a 6,200-pound 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor.¨ The company subjected a truck, a sedan, a four-stroke and a two-stroke leaf blower to automotive emissions tests and found that under normal usage conditions, alternating the blower between high power and idle, for example, the two-stroke engine emitted nearly 299 times the hydrocarbons of the pickup truck and 93 times the hydrocarbons of the sedan. The blower emitted many times as much carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides as well. The four-stroke engine performed significantly better than the two-stroke in most of the categories, but still far worse than the car engines.

J. Hummert

Longboat Key

 

Town Fiber Underground Project: What are true benefits?

To: Mayor George Spoll

Commissioner Spoll, I am writing to you because you have a technical background. I am requesting that the commission convene a special inquiry into an economic analysis (ROI) of the town’s proposed underground fiber network project.

At present I am unable to see any compelling need or use for a town underground network costing taxpayers millions of dollars, and at best replicating existing communications services provided by Comcast/Frontier/Verizon/AT&T/T-Mobile/Dish Network and others.

The town already has dedicated fiber lines connecting various town facilities. Frontier has additional fiber capacity that might be utilized by the town at a nominal cost if additional town communications needs arise. Current service is 330 Megabits with dedicated IP. 1 Gigabit service is soon to follow.

Any municipal services, such as water meter reading or street light management, are easily and inexpensively supplied using existing Frontier fiber.

With the advent of 5G a whole new layer of wireless communications will be added to existing data channels.

Frontier will be offering 1 Gigabit speeds within a year. They already have Gigabit service in other localities.

Most industry pundits predict that 5G will eventually supplant Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) presently offered by Comcast and Frontier.

Commissioner Spoll, what financial benefits will taxpayers gain from spending millions of dollars on yet another fiber network on the island?

Gene Jaleski

Longboat Key

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